Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight
Anne Barr
September 2019
by Robin McKinley
When you walk up to Anne Barr’s house, you automatically realize that an artistic “doer” lives here.  Despite the 100° September heat, roses gleefully bloom, green vigorous garden areas nestle the house, and neat paths lead you up to the door.  A whimsical cart overflows with blooms.
Anne confesses that she even considered art as a profession, but realized she is more of a doer than a visionary.  Instead she got her degree in mechanical engineering.  Now, Anne expresses her artistic side in her gardening.  She is a Master Gardener from Milam County.  She also got her Master Naturalist, but she couldn’t do both so she focused on the Master Gardner program.  As a part of that she went on Master Gardener cruises to Alaska and Paris.
With her degree in ME, and her husband, Gary’s, degree in electrical engineering, and their gardening and artistic abilities to boot, they have created an oasis from the bare ground in just one short year. 
Anne and Gary moved to Taylor to downsize and to be closer to Austin but not in it.  Before Taylor, they lived for 12 years between Thorndale and Rockdale, near the community of Salty.  They had a spectacular house and garden there.
Anne was born and raised in Austin.  She came by her artistic and gardening skills honestly, inheriting them from her homemaker mother.  Her mother always used to say that Anne would be a lawyer because she never stopped asking questions.  Her mother missed the mark on the field, but she was right that Anne would always be asking questions – just as an engineer instead of a lawyer.  Her engineering proclivities came from her father who was a professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Texas (UT).  She had two sisters, nine and ten years older than her, who majored in Art and Sociology at UT.
Anne got married to her first husband right out of high school and she got pregnant 4 months later.  Being in the military, her husband was shipped out to Japan soon after and her daughter was born while he was gone.  Anne took Deborah everywhere with her and shared her with everyone.  Luckily, that meant that Deborah wasn’t dismayed when a man she didn’t recognize arrived home from Japan.  Deborah grew up to be a bookkeeper, and she lives in Tyler where now she works for a mobility company (they provide various means to assist people who are mobility challenged from wheelchair to tub to vans.).  Deborah’s husband passed away last Thanksgiving.
Her second daughter is Marcy who lives in Cedar Park.  She also married right out of high school and has 4 children from two marriages.  She also followed in her mother’s footsteps by earning two certificates in bioengineering and now works for a small company that does cultures for stem cell research.
Her third daughter, Beth, is a software “wienie”, according to Anne.  Beth is a technical manager for a small company that does tech support for POS (point of sale) software.  She has 3 children and also lives in Cedar Park.
Family is an important part of Anne and Gary’s lives.  Anne has 3 daughters, 8 grandchildren, 4 greats, and Gary has 4 children, 6 granddaughters and 9 greats.
After marrying her first husband, Anne went to Nixon-Clay business school but didn’t continue when she discovered she was pregnant, and he was shipped out to Japan.  After he returned home but still was in the service, she completed 2 years of college in engineering at UT, and math, including one year toward teaching. 
When her husband left the military, Anne went back to working full-time to support him while he went to school.  She got a position at Southwestern Bell Telephone doing drafting.  She had printed her application, and when she went to interview, they asked her if she wanted to do drafting.  She agreed and that began many years work doing drafting for various companies. 
She worked for Tracor as a draftsman.  Tracor was a consulting company specializing in government contracts for countermeasures to protect aircraft from enemy missiles.
Then when the job market got tight, she left the company to free up a position for others who needed the job worse than she did, and went to work for the Chair of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Texas for 2-3 years.  During this time, she sometimes worked part-time, sometimes half-time, and sometimes full-time.  Little by little she also continued working on her degree in Mechanical Engineering.  It took Anne 20 years to complete her degree.  She laughs and says, “I was a slow learner.”  But somehow you don’t get the idea that is really true.  Between supporting her family and raising her girls, study obviously had to take second and third place. 
After she graduated, she went back to work for Tracor.  By this time, Gary was also working at Tracor, and he had a strict “no dating colleagues at work” policy.  Gary had gotten divorced two years earlier, and it was a challenging divorce.  Anne offered for him to give her a call if he needed to talk.  One evening, he came over to talk and even though they didn’t date, a relationship was beginning. 
Sometime later, Anne got an offer to go to work for OIME (Oil Industry Manufacturing Engineering), which was part of Parker Drilling out of Midland.  She left Tracor, and then she and Gary were married. 
After a while, her boss from Tracor kept calling her and wanting her to come back, so eventually she did.  At Tracor she was on the presentation design team, and often had to speak to large audiences about the projects they were developing.  Because the technologies were so new, not many people knew much about them.  To keep the jitters at bay, her boss would remind her that “you know more about this than anyone else in this room does.”
Anne worked for several other companies, including teaching at ACC and UT, and at Wayne Dresser working on a project designing the at-the-time emerging “pay at the pump”.  Anne and Gary started a consulting firm combining their skills to serve many clients.  Anne also worked at Applied Materials which she really loved.  “It was a place where you could feel the excitement,” Anne said.  The company built the wafers that were needed to build computer chips.  Anne got to travel to Japan with this position.  Working abroad was challenging but fun.
Anne loved best that wherever she was employed the work was never the same: all different kinds of jobs, all different products.  She had travel opportunities to meet lots of neat people and do exciting work. 
For vacations, she and Gary also loved to travel, including to England, Scotland, Wales, Hawaii, Tahiti, Paris, Normandy, Japan, Bahamas, and Mexico.  The most fun she ever had was vacations to Hawaii.  She loves the seashore and the mountains and the people and the food especially fresh fish.  She caught a Mahi once, and though it was a lot of work bringing it in, she finally did it and nothing ever tasted better.
Anne and Gary joined Taylor First United Methodist Church this spring. Anne was raised Methodist, and she was baptized at Hyde Park United Methodist church in Austin. 
She is impressed with the friendliness of Taylor FUMC.  She was greeted most warmly by everybody she says.  She enjoys Sela’s sermons and likes that Sela practices what she preaches.  Anne and Gary regularly attend Beer and Bible.  They also enjoyed helping out at Midnight Basketball and at the Garage sale.
Her favorite hymn depends on her mood but she is fond of “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder, I’ll Be There.”  One day recently, she woke up with the doxology going through her head.  What a great way to wake up!
Be sure to trade stories with Anne and welcome her to our Taylor flock!

Beer and Bible

Beer and Bible: An Ecumenical Social Justice Happy Hour!  
We gather weekly at different locations throughout the community.
We have different leaders sharing various topics from a biblical point of view each week. 
Join us Thursday evenings, 6 to 7:00 p.m. to share a meal and engage in conversation.
We are currently gathering at Luigi’s Italian Restaurant, 202 West Lake Drive, Taylor, Texas 76574
To receive weekly updates on topics and locations, please text to 81010 and enter @beernbible.

First United Methodist Church Annual Rummage and Bake Sale

Rummage and Bake Sale 
First United Methodist Church
907 W. Lake Drive, Taylor, Texas 76574
Saturday, August 24, 2019
8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Furnitures, clothes (adults and children), electronics, books, toys, various equipments, and much much more. And of course, don’t forget our wonderful bake sale! 

God’s Most Wanted Vacation Bible School 2019

This year’s Vacation Bible School is fast approaching! It is shaping up to be a really Rootin’ Tootin’ good time. Tiffany has been working hard, planning a lot of fun activities for the kiddos.
Sunday, August 4th – Wednesday, August 7th
5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Ages 2-12 years
Check out are VBS page for more information and how you can register your youngin’s and/or sign up to volunteer your time or donations. 

Beer and Bible

Beer and Bible
Currently meeting at Lucky Duck Cafe, 220 East 4th Street, Taylor, Texas 76574
Thursdays, 6 – 7 p.m.
Join us! To receive weekly updates, please text to 81010 and enter @ b e e r n b i b l e 
#churchinthecommunity #churchinpublicspaces #jesusinthecommunity #beerandbible #socialjustice #fumctaylor

Midnight Basketball 2019

FUMC will be volunteering at Midnight Basketball Tuesday, July 16 at Robinson Park (corner of Threadgill and Walnut). We will meet at the church at 6:30 p.m. to load everything and drive together. 

Please sign up to volunteer and/or donate food items here

District Committee on Ordained Ministry (DCOM)

The South District Committee on Ordained Ministry of the Central Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church would like to welcome all those who are considering entering candidacy, to our “Getting to know you” event. If you are interested in learning more about what it takes to become a Local Licensed Pastor, an Ordained Deacon or Elder or perhaps just wants to be more actively involved in the local church and beyond, you are invited to attend this gathering. 
You will meet the members of the District Committee on Ministry, learn about the CTCUMC Candidacy Process and get questions answered.
Monday, June 24, 2019, 6:00 p.m.
First United Methodist Church in Taylor
907 W Lake Dr, Taylor, TX 76574
Please register here: 

Shepherd’s Heart

Sign-Up! We Need You! Youth Sign-Up!
FUMC will be volunteering at Shepherd’s Heart Food Pantry Saturday, June 22 from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. Please sign up in the Narthex or online here.

If you would like to bring donations for the Food Pantry, you may place your non-perishable food items in the shopping cart outside of the sanctuary. Thank you!

Staff Spotlight

Staff Spotlight
Tiffany Charles
Mother’s Day Out Director
Children’s Ministry
Tiffany has been with our Mother’s Day Out Program since 2016, and has served as the program director for the past two years. She was born and raised in Taylor and is a graduate of Taylor High School. She then studied Child Development and Early Childhood Education at Austin Community College and Concordia University. Tiffany previously worked for 17 years in licensed childcare, serving as a Pre-K teacher, Area Trainer, and Assistant Director. Tiffany lives in Coupland, with her husband, Richard, and their three children, ages 18, 12, and 5 years old. She also serves as a Sunday School teacher here at FUMC. Tiffany loves that God has called her to work in the field of Early Childhood Education and looks forward to each and every day that she can serve the Lord through her work with children and their families.

Member Spotlight

Betty Brown
Member Spotlight

May 2019
by Robin McKinley
Two big brothers, 9 and 12 years old at the time, greeted the birth of Betty Brown in Burnet, Texas.  Her father was a master mechanic and was manager of the Ford dealership parts department in Burnet.  Her mother was an LVN at the local, privately owned by one doctor, clinic and hospital.  A sister joined the family nine years after Betty’s birth.  Betty’s school years were also spent in Burnet. 
Betty’s family attended the Church of Christ, and she worshipped there until the 1970s.  Of course, no instruments are allowed in Church of Christ services.  Nevertheless, the beginnings of Betty’s musical ability were established in this church. When Betty was five or six years old, her cousin who had a strong alto voice told Betty she was going to teach her to sing alto.  She sat next to her cousin in choir. “She taught me to listen for harmony,” says Betty.
In the fourth grade, she began singing in school.  Then, band became available and anyone could audition.  Winning a spot in the band, Betty played the cornet. The band taught Betty to read music. She was also in the junior high and high school choruses. 
When she was in high school, she was invited to join a local trio called the Tom Ren Ray Trio.  Named after the original members of the trio, Tom played the trumpet, Ren played the guitar, and Ray played the organ.  They played and Betty sang for all kind of events.  When her dad found out, he was not at all pleased.  His daughter was never going to go sing in a honkytonk!  Happily for Betty, he finally relented for other venues.
After she graduated from high school, she went to Austin, choosing Nixon-Clay Commercial College for her studies. She had received scholarships both there and at the University of Texas at Austin, but UT required that she live on campus and by the time she was accepted, no housing was available at UT.  She planned to go to UT after she finished at Nixon-Clay.
When Betty was studying at Nixon-Clay, the Austin TV station owned by Lady Byrd Johnson, KTBC, (Channel 7 now); had an amateur talent contest.  Ray found out about it and told Betty he was going to enter her. “I didn’t have much time to rehearse,” Betty remembers.  But she and the trio had been in many local “Hay Loft” musical shows.  For the contest, she sang “Stormy Weather”.  The winner was based on how many votes the public sent in. Nixon-Clay gave all their students postcards (with a plug for the college) filled in with Betty’s name to submit for the vote.  “We won!” Betty remembers with fond joy.
The love of Betty’s life appeared on the scene while she was in Austin, and her life plan changed as life plans do.  She finished a ten-month course of study at Nixon-Clay, and then went to work for the Railroad Commission as a secretary.  Four years later, she married Dwayne Brown on April 6, 1955, and proudly recounts she was married for 55 years and 29 days, until Dwayne’s death.
After her marriage, Betty worked as the secretary to the county judge and county attorney from fall 1957 to April 1958.  She loved the work but when Dwayne was drafted and finished his basic training, Betty quit her job to accompany Dwayne to New Jersey where he attended signal school.  Next, he was sent to Korea, and Betty returned to Burnet where Sharon, their first child, was born.  Sharon was just short of 8 months old before Dwayne first saw her.  Sharon initially was singularly unimpressed by this stranger in the house.
The family moved to Fort Benning, Georgia. Sharon was soon joined by Carlton and Linda.  These days, Sharon lives in Irving.  Carlton is in the middle, and he lives in Farmers Branch.  Linda is youngest and she lives out of Liberty Hill.  Betty’s children eventually gave her four grandkids – Christine, 31, Brandon, 28, Connor, 24, and Stacy, also 24.  She also has 2 greats: 12-year-old Xavier, and nearly 2-year-old Penelope.
In 1959, when Dwayne separated from active duty, the family moved to Austin.  From 1959-63, Dwayne worked for Color Press, a company which published yearbooks.  Betty wasn’t actively employed until 1961 when she typed addresses for bulk mailing at home.  In 1963, Color Press went bankrupt because of cash flow problems.  Dwayne decided to get additional training and they moved to Waterloo, and later to Taylor.
Because of several crises in her life, Betty had quit attending church.  About 1975, Betty’s kids started coming to Taylor FUMC with friends, and they sang in choirs through the Sunday School.  One year, they were preparing a Christmas cantata, and the choir was short on altos.  Her kids asked her to come sing.  She sang for the cantata and shortly after she began singing regularly.  A few years later, she joined the church.  Whit Whittington was the preacher, and his wife, Millie Whittington, was a good friend to Betty, and instrumental in her joining the church.
By 1977, with her youngest in junior high, Betty began to think of returning to work.  Betty’s dream had been to work with juveniles and she thought the ideal would be a job for the county.  She applied for a county job, and interviewed.  Although she was a good match for the job since she had trained as an executive secretary and had relevant experience, her family had too high an income.  The job was set aside for a low-income family.
About this time, the Whittingtons invited her to a party at the parsonage.  Millie knew she was looking for a job.  Millie introduced Betty to a woman who became Betty’s boss for 23 ½ years.  The woman was a nurse practitioner practicing under local physician. 
Betty was hired to establish and set up an office in Taylor for her and, of course, “other jobs as assigned.”  The office, named Direct Heath Care Service, was responsible for family planning services in Burnet, Williamson, Bastrop and Fayette Counties.  Betty’s job gave her direct, hands-on contact with young women. The office had few services for women over 40 (Betty was 41).  The youngest client was short of twelve years.  “I was like the older aunt or grandma,” Betty says.  She had gotten the ideal job with juvenile contact that she had wanted. “God delivered the job,” Betty says.
After the initial set up, Betty ran the office and did clerical work.  She was also trained for specific tasks such as drawing blood and conducting blood tests. She did pregnancy testing, pap smears, and STD screenings.  In the 1980s, HIV testing and counseling was added to their services. 
As a part of her job, Betty remembers fondly her contribution to a manual for family planning.  “I had the privilege of doing the transcribing and a little editing on a publication policy and procedure training manual for family planning workers.  It was the first in state of Texas and was funded by donations.”
After joining Taylor FUMC, Betty never looked back.  She says, “I like it that Taylor FUMC has open doors and open arms.  It is a loving congregation.”  Her roots here run deep.  The parsonage was originally given to the church by her mother’s first cousin, Lola Preslar.  Cousin Lola specified in her will that the parsonage be purchased and given to the church.
Her singing is still legendary.  Her favorite hymn is “He Leadeth Me” because he does, and the lyrics say so much.  She also loves “It Is Well with My Soul.”  Betty explains, “It tells a lot about me because I went through a period of time when it was not ‘well with my soul.’”
What a wonderful legacy Betty brings to our church.  So many have been touched and enriched by her experiences and her life.